08 March 2005
Bush Urges Strong Action To Confront Nuclear Proliferation
President pledges full U.S. commitment to the nonproliferation treaty
President Bush called on parties to the 35-year-old Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to take "strong action" to confront noncompliance and enhance common security.
"We cannot allow rogue states that violate their commitments and defy the international community to undermine the NPT's fundamental role in strengthening international security," Bush said in a March 7 statement.
"We must, therefore, close the loopholes that allow states to produce nuclear materials that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs," he said.
While not referring to Iran specifically, Bush said that for international norms to be effective against nations that try to cover up banned nuclear activity under guise of peaceful civilian programs, the terms of the NPT must be enforced.
The president said the United States has already undertaken concrete actions and made several proposals designed to strengthen the NPT, the International Atomic Energy Agency, and the broader nonproliferation regime. This includes the launch of the action-oriented Proliferation Security Initiative, under whose umbrella more than 60 nations have pledged to interdict trafficking in weapons of mass destruction.
"The IAEA safeguards system is, therefore, an important means of detecting and preventing NPT violations," he said.
The NPT members will meet in May in New York for the seventh review conference of the 1970 agreement.
Bush called "upon all states that are party to the treaty to act promptly and effectively to meet the challenges to the NPT and our common security."
Following is the text of the Bush statement:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
March 7, 2005
Statement by the President
Thirty-five years ago, the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons entered into force. Today, almost all nations are party to the Treaty. The NPT represents a key legal barrier to nuclear weapons proliferation and makes a critical contribution to international security.
In May, the parties to the NPT will convene the Seventh Review Conference of the Treaty. In the context of this review, I reaffirm the determination of the United States to carry out its treaty commitments and to work to ensure its continuance in the interest of world peace and security.
NPT Parties must take strong action to confront the threat of noncompliance with the NPT in order to preserve and strengthen the Treaty's nonproliferation undertakings. We cannot allow rogue states that violate their commitments and defy the international community to undermine the NPT's fundamental role in strengthening international security. We must therefore close the loopholes that allow states to produce nuclear materials that can be used to build bombs under the cover of civilian nuclear programs.
For international norms to be effective, they must be enforced. It is the charge of the International Atomic Energy Agency to uncover banned nuclear activity and to report these violations. The IAEA safeguards system is therefore an important means of detecting and preventing NPT violations. The IAEA must have the tools it needs to do its work, especially universal adherence to the Additional Protocol.
The United States remains firmly committed to its obligations under the NPT. Our record demonstrates this commitment, including the Moscow Treaty concluded in 2002. The United States will continue to play a leading role in strengthening the nonproliferation regime. We have undertaken concrete actions and made several proposals to strengthen the NPT, the IAEA, and the broader nonproliferation regime, including launching the Proliferation Security Initiative.
It is essential in these times of great challenge to international security, particularly when rogue states and terrorists seek to acquire weapons of mass destruction, that the international community work together to confront the dangers of nuclear proliferation. I call upon all states that are party to the Treaty to act promptly and effectively to meet the challenges to the NPT and our common security. By doing so, we can ensure that it remains an effective instrument of global security.